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21 Jan 2019

Australian technology company Calix has been awarded a Global Connections Fund grant for work on a new pathway for the treatment of diseases. Calix will partner with the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) in Greece to target the development of a non-toxic powder effective against a wide range of pathogens without generating resistance.

The Global Connections Fund forms part of the Australian Government’s Global Innovation Strategy, which seeks to create more jobs and drive Australia’s economic growth by advancing Australian ideas and assisting in the commercialisation process. This program is administered by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering with the support of its expert Academy Fellows network.

A collaboration with Principal Researcher Dr George Karagiannakis at CERTH was established to test whether Calix’s nano-active magnesium oxide (MgO) produced with very high surface area, was a source of reactive oxygen species (ROS).

ROS generation in animals and plants leads to a mechanism considered as the first defence to combat most diseases that originate from pathogenic anaerobic microorganisms. CERTH uses spin-trap electron paramagnetic resonance to quantify ROS.

Dr Mark Sceats, Chief Scientist at Calix and a Fellow of the Academy said: “The results confirmed that Calix’s nano-active MgO is a source of ROS and, furthermore, a higher dose of ROS was generated as the particle was dissolved in weak acids. This implies that direct application could be effective against disease, because acids exuded by the pathogens will trigger a burst of ROS when the particle meets the pathogen.”

The grant will help Calix further investigate this, and then set up a broad Australian-European collaboration with CERTH to explore its use in combating diseases.

Calix is a multi-award-winning Australia technology company that is developing new processes and materials to solve global challenges.
The core technology is a world-first, patented kiln built in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria that produces mineral honeycomb, which are very highly active minerals.
Calix uses these minerals, which are safe and environmentally friendly, to improve waste water treatment and phosphate removal, help protect sewer assets from corrosion, and help improve food production from aquaculture and agriculture without antibiotics, fungicides, and pesticides.
Calix's technology has also been adopted overseas, where the company is working with some of the world's largest companies, governments and research institutions on CO2 capture.

The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), founded in 2000, is one of the leading research centres in Greece and listed among the TOP-20 European Union research institutions with the highest participation in competitive research grants. It is a legal entity governed by private law with non-profit status, supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs.

Published: 21 Jan 2019